Close this search box.

4 Reasons Why the Latest Polls Spell Trouble for Biden

What does Biden’s approval rating look like?

The awful polls for President Joe Biden are coming one after the other.

A New York Times/Siena College poll recently showed that the chief of state falls 4 points behind former President Donald Trump, his likely Republican opponent, in a general election matchup. The past few days brought an additional three major surveys, also indicating that Trump leads amid deep and broad dissatisfaction with the incumbent. Long story short, Biden’s approval rating doesn’t seem promising at all, euphemistically speaking.

As far as Trump’s situation goes, many seem to have let go of any misgivings they had about him during his time spent in office—or during his tumultuous exit.

Let’s not forget that polls aren’t predictions, as Biden surrogates and the White House are quick to remind the media and concerned Democrats in the wake of each new series of loathed toplines. They have also pointed out that they expect that when things go south, voters will decide the best thing to do is pick Biden over Trump.

Biden’s approval rating is currently at 38.9% on average. He’s trailing Trump in national polls by 2.3% points and in five of the six key Electoral College swing states.

If we take a look at the whole picture, the natural conclusion is that the president’s reelection bid is in deep trouble. In other words, Biden is currently on track to lose to his likely Republican opponent.

Like nearly every new chief of state, Biden began with far more Americans approving and disapproving of his tenure as president, due to what’s called the “honeymoon” period. However, in the second half of his first year in office, amid a resurgent COVID pandemic, rising inflation, and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, his approval dropped. In the two years since, it hasn’t recovered.

According to experts, voters seem to be sending the same messages over and over again in polls: Biden’s approval rating continues to go down. Here are some of the reasons why opinion survey numbers raise concerns for the president.

Biden's approval rating
Photo by Paul Froggatt from Shutterstock

1. Age and physical/mental capacity

One of the reasons why Biden’s approval rating looks awful has to do with the president’s age and perceived acuity.

Around 45% of those who responded in the New York Times/Siena poll pointed out that Biden’s age is such an issue that he’s not able to handle the job of president. Another 26% said Biden’s age makes him ineffective, but he’s still capable of handling the job of president well enough. Only 25% said they somehow or strongly opposed the premise.

Despite Trump’s misstatements and mix-ups (he once referred to the current president as “Obama”) and the fact that, at the age of 77, he is not even four years younger than Biden, 55% of those in the Times opinion survey said they somewhat or strongly disagreed that his age made him incapable of carrying out the chief of state duties.

A recent poll conducted by CBS News/YouGov also showed that Biden’s approval rating is sinking, with 45% of respondents stating that only Trump was physically healthy enough to do a good job as president, compared to only 17% who said only Biden was. Nearly 29% said neither. And 43% stated that only Trump would have the mental fitness for another presidential term, compared to Biden’s 26%.

2. Immigration

Biden’s approval rating is also bad because of immigration matters. According to the Wall Street Journal poll, 20% picked immigration when asked about the issue that most think of when it comes to their 2024 presidential vote. As a matter of fact, this issue registered more mentions than the economy (14%) or abortion (8%).

Though Biden has changed his rhetoric on the matter, passing the blame on congressional Republicans for the recent blocking of a bipartisan border bill, voters still seem to think that Trump would take more action to stem the flow. This doesn’t look good at all for Biden’s approval rating.

A plurality, 45%, of those who took part in the CBS News poll consider the whole immigration situation a crisis, and half believe that a second Biden term would automatically mean a spike in the number of migrants coming over the border. About 22% predict that another Biden presidency would result in a decrease in crossings.

At the same time, nearly 72% believe that a second Trump would bring a decrease in migrants trying to cross the southern border—only 9% think a Trump victory would result in more crossing attempts. Moreover, half of respondents say they somewhat or strongly support making it more difficult for asylum seekers at the US southern border, compared to 43% who somewhat or strongly oppose the idea.

By the way, if you want to learn more about American politics, here’s a great book!

Photo by Below the Sky from Shutterstock

3. The economy

Despite months of positive economic news and a “soft landing” from post-pandemic inflation, most Americans can’t help but feel that the economy is in really bad shape. Nearly 74% of those in the Times survey said the economy nowadays is in rough or only fair shape, while 26% described it as excellent or good. These numbers automatically affect Biden’s approval rating.

And in the CBS News survey, 49% of respondents said today’s economy is in fairly good or very good condition, while 57% said the current conditions are fairly or very bad. Despite a pandemic-induced downturn during Trump’s last year in office, 65% describe the economy under Trump as being fairly or very good, while only 28% remember it as being fairly or very bad.

Biden’s approval rating aside, there are some good signs in the polling data when it comes to the economy: A new Wall Street Journal survey found an increase in the percentage of voters who stated that the economy had improved over the past two years and that their finances were going in the right direction.

However, the poll also indicated little benefit for Biden in the more positive outlook.

Photo by Tennessee Witney from Shutterstock

4. A tough environment for incumbents

The awful state of Biden’s approval rating seems less like an anomaly when we look overseas. Many leaders of developed democracies are highly unpopular right now, spanning the ideological spectrum—including Rishi Sunak of the UK, Olaf Scholz of Germany, Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Emmanuel Macron of France.

Indeed, Biden’s approval rating is in better shape than any of those four, even though they are all decades younger than him. According to experts, this indicates that it’s simply a difficult time for an incumbent to be in power.

So what if Biden’s unpopularity stems from bigger, broader factors than his traits? And what if many voters in the United States and these other countries are simply fed up with the state of the world that didn’t come back to normal after the pandemic?

The perception of a world on fire is widespread, and most people find the chief of state responsible for that. Biden’s approval rating dropped considerably after the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. In fact, experts point out that this is the clearest example of a specific event affecting the president’s polls.

While Americans had repeatedly said they wanted to end the Afghanistan war, the actual withdrawal was taken by Americans and portrayed in the media as a humiliation and debacle, calling into question Biden’s competence.

Will Biden rebound, and if so, will he rebound enough? Anyone predicting who would win the 2016 or 2020 presidential elections was, in hindsight, wrong, since both were decided by narrow margins in just a couple of key states that could have easily shifted.

If you liked our article on Biden’s approval rating, you may also want to read Trump’s Promises for 2024: What You Need to Know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts